Chris, Rachel, come join me for a minute. I know you've got a story interview at noon, and you want to research the filmmaker first and look up archived stories about the Williams Theatre Lab and ask around for places to explore in Troy, N.Y., but take a breather and let me introduce you.

Everyone, meet our summer interns.

Rachel, here making notes about butterfly dancers and the music of Arvel Bird, walked in the door in the week of Best of the Berkshires in June. She started in our busiest week of the year, and in a summer that has proved unexpectedly challenging she has quietly, vividly filled pages with color. The spreads of photos we have been putting together, the outdoor theater and Modern art, many have come from Rachel.

Chris, there listening to a theatre troupe rehearse with shadow puppets and hammered dulcimer, flew in from a year abroad to join us just before July 4. He too hit the ground running, collecting and designing a section to celebrate the magazine's 60th anniversary within his first few days. He has a shrewd eye and sense of humor and endless energy.

You can see how much I owe them -- even before you realize they're fueling our social media, funneling new content onto the website, filling a weekly live chat and flying through page layout.

They have weathered the usual summer chaos, the changing schedules, the inevitable improvisation, the antediluvian technology and the growing pace of interviews and writing and design.


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They have taken on stories from clones and X-rays to slapstick comedy and Homeric tragedy.

They've given us balance. Rachel is a poet and mentor with a careful eye and a feel for detail, and Chris is an ambitious storyteller with an enthusiasm for international news and complex topics, and they surprise me regularly with their insights, their professional thoroughness -- and their curiosity.

Curiosity keeps us going around here.

Noah Borden, left, and Owen Wilson prepare to net fish at Lake Paran in North Bennington on a sunny day.
Noah Borden, left, and Owen Wilson prepare to net fish at Lake Paran in North Bennington on a sunny day. (Bennington Banner file)
This week, when I was talking with a dozen actors at the Berkshire Fringe Festival, Josh Matthews and Sarah Petersiel from Under the Table Ensemble Theatre told me that play is an important tool. This magazine has a large capacity for playfulness. The stories we choose and the people we talk to make the county a livelier place.

Walking around town, talking to people, I find out the bridge in front of me covers an old fort where Narragansett soldiers faced Colonial militia, and young actors are performing at the farmers market, and slam poets are about to perform at the bar. It's like walking through North Adams at Downstreet Art when musicians strum in doorways and three stilt-walkers in scarlet and white and gold are dancing under rainbow umbrellas. The color and sound and motion make the streets brighter.

Chris and Rachel, you guys multiply that playfulness exponentially. The stories you see and tell are part of it. And having you here in this busiest of all possible seasons gives Maggy and me the energy to play as well.

I can't tell you how valuable it is to have your help.

At the end of this week, Rachel will finish her stint here and set off to prepare for her senior year at MCLA, and around Labor Day Chris will head into his senior year at Williams.

Thanks, you both. I hope we're giving you a chance to play, too.